Mobile Shoppers to Meet In-Store Micro-Targeting

We may be about to find out the level to which mobile shoppers are willing to be targeted in stores as they shop.

Earlier this year, a study by ResearchNow showed that while a third of women shoppers love it when reminded of in-store sales by a sales associate, a majority (58%) said they would be “thrilled” if they received a personalized offer on their smartphone while in the store.

Now Swirl, the well-funded Boston-based technology company that sponsored the research, is rolling out a national platform for retailers that can deliver personalized content and offers to shoppers based on their locations within stores.

This follows a pilot program with national fashion retailers including Alex and Ani, Kenneth Cole and Timberland that showed a large (75%) in-store app open rate. Swirl executives say the company is working on plans for broader rollouts with those three retail chains and Timberland says it expects to expand it into its stores next year.



The idea is that the technology gets embedded inside a retailer’s mobile app. It uses Bluetooth low energy beacons that can pinpoint a shopper’s precise location in a store.

And here is the ultimate test of this type of in-store targeting.

Since the technology can be so precise as to locate shoppers as they traverse a certain aisle, we’re about to see how many of the consumers who opt in stick with the program.

In the earlier women’s shopping study, 17% of women shoppers said they would not share their location but most would, based on the following incentives:

  • 83% -- $15 in-store credit
  • 47% -- $5 in-store credit
  • 20% -- $1 in store credit

And numerous studies show that consumers prefer to shop in physical stores so marketers will be testing what will appeal to these mobile shoppers.

This is yet another mobile commerce capability moving into the market, most of which has no idea it’s coming.

We’re in the early stages of finding out how mobile shoppers will react to in-store, micro-targeting at scale.

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